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The new $200-million Trump International Hotel located inside Pennsylvania Avenue’s Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, D.C., which opened in late September, was kept safe and secure during its construction phases by Modular Security Systems Inc.’s (MSSI) patented Modular Access Control (MAC) Portal.

The portability of the MAC Portals made the system easy to install and an ideal solution for the high-profile project, with the construction site’s general contractor choosing to use MSSI’s full-height, high-security turnstiles, access-control technology and climate-controlled guard offices for the jobsite.

The MAC Portal was invented in 2004, inspired by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that created intensified Homeland Security requirements. MSSI recycles durable ISO containers to create the tamper-proof turnstiles that house the advanced security technology. The repurposed standard ISO shipping container is made of extremely robust 16-gauge COR-TEN weathering steel. The portals feature full-height turnstiles, motion sensors and state-of-the-art, client-specified access-control technology. The MAC Portal will integrate with any commercially available software system to generate reports, track worker time, prevent tool theft and issue payroll records.

“The MAC Portal was originally created to protect soft targets like refineries and chemical plants,” said Robert Slagel, CEO and President of Portable Solutions Group (PSG), the parent company of Ironton, OH-based MSSI. “After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security passed laws requiring facilities to protect their perimeter and issue badges or cards to anyone entering the site – even a contractor. Shortly after 9/11, we were contacted by a local refinery to develop a solution to secure their contractor parking lot.”

The first MAC Portal was designed and built in just a few months, and has been continually improved and fine-tuned since that initial installation. Today, MAC Portals are used in 55 countries on six continents around the world. PSG has grown along with the ever-advancing technology and now has more than 100 employees. In mid-September, the company added a second facility, expanding its manufacturing footprint by more than 50,000 square feet to accommodate its rapid growth in current and future orders.  At its legacy facility, PSG has been running three shifts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which necessitated the expansion.

On the heels of this expansion, PSG has since earned its first MAC commercial construction project in Detroit and received two new orders for major projects in New York City and Staten Island.

“While our business remains brisk in the industrial construction segment, the pace of our growth is fastest in commercial construction and most pronounced in major cities along all U.S. borders,” Slagel added.  “This is principally due to companies ramping up their security to comply with new Homeland Security compliance laws.”

The MAC Portals are installed directly into a perimeter fence at the construction site. Several different types of access-control systems are available for use with the MAC Portals, including proximity cards, radio frequency identification cards (RFID), hand geometry, iris scanners and more. For the Trump Hotel project, proximity security badges that provided access to construction personnel worked like a hotel key. They are not inserted into a slot, but are read when held in close proximity of the scanner. The turnstile will not open without the scanner approving entry.

“The product allows contractors to provide a quick and easy secure access point to their site,” Slagel said. “If they have an urgent need or an area of their plant they have to shut down and want to separate it from the rest of the facility, we give them a quick and easy secure access point. And on top of that, it can be easily used and moved if the point of entrance needs to be adjusted. You can’t move turnstiles that are installed in concrete. The mobility of MAC Portals also make them easy to move to other site locations proximate to where the construction work needs to shift during the course of the project.”

Detailed Reports Track Onsite Activity

Additional benefits have developed from the original goal of providing secure access, Slagel said.
“We didn’t realize in the beginning that this type of security would eliminate the problem of stolen time on the jobsite. When a card is scanned on entrances and exits, it automatically logs the time of the worker and keeps track of an electronic time card. Construction managers were losing thousands of dollars on the jobsite because of stolen time. This doesn’t happen with the MAC Portal.”

The MAC Portal’s access system can also help keep non-approved individuals from entering the jobsite. There is no way to enter the jobsite without the access card. The system also provides detailed reporting data for the contractor.

“Based on the type of access control system installed, the reporting feature provides substantial benefits,” said Kevin Harrison, MSSI’s Vice President and Business Manager. “This allows a manager to sit in his office and, at any time, see how many electricians are on site, and how many people from a particular company are on site. For certain government projects, reporting can be required on the percentage of workers from a particular geographic area or a certain race or nationality. This system can track how many people are at work every day and where they live.”

The Trump International Hotel project was a makeover of the second tallest building in Washington, D.C. It has restored the 1899 post office tower on Pennsylvania Avenue into a luxury hotel that includes 271 rooms, a 13,000-square-foot ballroom, 36,000 square feet of meeting space and two presidential suites.

Several decades ago, the building was considered for demolition, but in 1970 the Don’t Tear It Down organization created a movement to preserve the historic landmark. Donald J. Trump, the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee, said 1,000 construction workers were used to reshape the historic hotel, which features four-foot-deep granite walls and employs more than 500 people.

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About Modular Security Systems Inc. (MSSI)

Modular Security Systems Inc. (MSSI) is an Ohio-based intellectual properties holding company that specializes in engineering, designing, and manufacturing unique portable perimeter security solutions out of ISO shipping container modifications, turnstiles, and access control technology. The company currently holds patents in the United States, Canada, Algeria, Nigeria, Egypt and the European Union. MSSI recently hired its 100th employee.